ROSTOW modernization model

Theorists of the Modernization traditions believe that societies will need western assistance to develop them. There were innumerable debates about finding out the most efficient ways to assist the countries in their development. There was a consensus on the view that aid was a great thing to receive and if the countries that were developing were injected further with western expertise and money, then it will help to erase the backward cultural barriers and this will begin their economies.

The most famous modernization model was first invented by Walt Whitman Rostow in the year 1971. The modernization theory proposed that the countries following initial investments would set off in the evolutionary method that would lead to the progress of up to 5 stages of the ladder of development. This process may take up to 60 years to complete. The theory also suggests that the help from the west will help the countries to develop at a much faster pace. Rostow’s model of economic growth is as follows:

  • The traditional society where the economy is conquered by subsistence farming, barter system, and agriculture
  • The stage in which help from the western countries has brought specialization, surpluses, and development in the infrastructure.
  • In this stage, society and economy of the country is mainly dominated by the change in the political environment, growth in the investment and savings, industrialization and expansion in the regional growth
  • Diversification and innovation consume a large part of the society in this phase. The countries can now rely less on the import system.
  • This stage is mainly consumer-oriented with the flourish of durable and sustainable goods. The service sector becomes more active and there is a low rate of unemployment in the society.

ROSTOW modernization model

Criticism of the Modernization Theory

The criticisms of the Modernization Theory are as follows:

  1. There is no example of a developing country that has followed the approach of the modernization theory. No cities have completely followed the 5 stages of Rostow’s economic growth. That is why it is considered a weak theory.
  2. This theory presumes that traditional societies are morally and technically inferior to western countries. But the reality is that most of the western developed countries have large inequalities that lead to greater problems like high crime and suicide rates, health problems and drug abuse.
  3. Neo-Liberalism states that Modernization Theory puts importance on foreign aid, but most of the time corruption prevents necessary aids to reach where it was supposed to be present. Most of the aid is removed by the government officials and corrupt politicians rather than the projects for which they were issued.

Despite the absence of success and repetitive failings, Rostow’s Modernization Theory is one of the most powerful theories in terms of global impact. In the name of the Modernization Theory, the spirit has resulted in the establishment of the World Bank, various global financial institutions and IMF that has helped as an efficient means of the development of a country.